How to be a Volunteer Curator
Watching Western Sahara relies on a network of volunteers to monitor original sources of video footage from Western Sahara and assist in adding context, such as translation, description, and links to relevant reports.
If you would like to volunteer, here are a few ways you can help:
- Monitor sources of original footage from Western Sahara and submit appropriate videos when you see new footage that fits our criteria.
- Add context to footage curated on Checkdesk. This can include translating protest chants, signs, or other text or narration; identifying locations where the videos are filmed based on landmarks or other information about the event filmed; add links to relevant news reports, blogs, or other videos, photos, or online reports that provide further context to what is seen in the video.
- From time to time, respond to requests for information sent out to volunteer curators.
Interested? Read on.
What videos are we curating?
Watching Western Sahara is a platform for online, eyewitness footage that documents human rights issues currently affecting Sahrawis in the occupied territory and the refugee camps of Sahrawi exiles in Tindouf, Algeria. These include, for example, footage of protests, testimony, treatment of detainees, and press conferences by activists.
The platform is not for video commentary, documentaries, or eyewitness footage that is more than one year old, except when such footage provides relevant context for new curated footage. We recognize that it is not always possible to verify where and when a video was recorded, but we also strive to fill the need for verified documentation to help reporters, advocates, and investigators monitor Western Sahara. If submitted videos lack context to help corroborate what they document, we will label them clearly as in need of further research.
To develop a reliable and valuable source for human rights monitors and journalists, Watching Western Sahara curates videos that fit the following criteria:
- Recent: The footage was filmed in the past year, and preferably in the past three months.
- Raw/original: If there are two versions of the same video, the longer version is preferred over a shorter video, and an unedited video is preferred over one with lots of editing. We strive to find a version of a video closest to the original source rather than footage that has been scraped and re-shared by others. These standards help viewers verify where and when the footage was recorded, and what it depicts.
- Eyewitness footage: The objective of the platform is to help viewers monitor life inside Western Sahara through footage that answers the question of what happened, not what the videographer, editor, or uploader believes happened or should happen. We focus on videos that are made by Sahrawis or Sahrawi media or human rights networks, include original, eyewitness footage, and are not heavily edited.
- Verifiable: Is there sufficient information to determine where the video was filmed, when it was filmed, and what it documents? When submitting a video, you will be asked to provide the date and location the video was recorded. Here are some tips to verifying that information:
- Date recorded: Many online videos include the date in the video’s title or description. This is a good start, but you’ll also want to verify that the information is true with other corroborating information. Note that the video upload date is not necessarily the same as the date the video was recorded.
- Location: Many online videos include the location in the video’s title or description. You can also use landmarks and signs in the footage to identify where it took place.
- Corroborating information: Finding other videos of the same event, or online reports about the event, are other ways to corroborate what you see in the video and where and when it was recorded. These can also provide further context about what you see in the video. See the source list for resources on where to find online reports on Western Sahara.
For more resources on how to verify online videos:
- This WITNESS tipsheet explains how to verify eyewitness video. (Also available in Arabic & Spanish.)
- Watch this short video from the Journalist Survivor Guide goes over the principles of verifying online footage (also in Arabic).
- Find more resources on online video verification on the WITNESS Media Lab website.
Where do I find videos?
One way to find new videos from Western Sahara is by monitoring the YouTube channels of known sources of footage. We have compiled this list of sources that share online eyewitness footage from Western Sahara.
How do I submit a video?
Ready to get started? Fill out this form to submit a video to Watching Western Sahara.
Watching Western Sahara Checkdesk moderators review submissions on a regular basis, and will add your video once it is determined that it fits the platform criteria.
If you would like to be more involved as a volunteer curator for Watching Western Sahara Checkdesk, add your name to our volunteer database.